Congrats on getting an internship! I know how stressful and time-consuming it is to go through the interviewing process. But now that you have accepted the internship, I want to help you make the most of it. Now that I am on my third internship, I’ve had experience with ways to ensure that you leave your internship knowing more and having as many connections as you can.
1. Connect with your coworkers on LinkedIn
Please don’t think of LinkedIn like other social media. You aren’t “friending” them and have to worry about whether they will find your request strange. It’s a work site so that you can gain connections for future job opportunities. If you are lucky, they will endorse you! Now your skill set will look more promising to future employers.
2. Don't be afraid to ask questions
Whether they pertain to the project you are working on, the company, or what an acronym means, ask someone! They will be more than happy to answer, especially because it shows interest. If it is a question of how they want something done for a project, you are ensuring that it is completed correctly which is extremely important. The only thing to keep in mind is to ask the correct person. When in doubt, ask your boss/mentor. I highly recommend finding employees that are working in a career you could see yourself pursuing and asking them advice about what classes to take, what they wish they had done in college, etc. Do yourself a favor and learn from their past experiences.
3. Request training
There is a chance you will have time set aside for training by the internship program. If that is not the case and you are unsure how to do something because it is entirely new to you, chances are that someone knows how to. Schedule some time with them where they solely take the time to teach you. You are there to learn, and I can assure you that your newfound knowledge will be useful in the future.
4. Take advantage of company events
If there is a social event the company is hosting, I strongly recommend going and talking to employees. Make even more connections and learn more about the work environment. If employees go, they probably enjoy working there! Good to know if you want to work there after you graduate.
5. Talk to the other interns
If you have other interns there, even if they work in a different department, reach out to them! Creating that bond is one reason I’m enjoying my current internship so much. Prior to this internship starting, I was worried because I did not have anyone planned to be in my group for a semester project. By spending time with the other interns, I found out one was in the same position I was and now we are forming a group together. Having friends at work will give you something to look forward to every day while there. I’m not saying that just working isn’t fun, but I would much rather talk to people throughout the day than sit in silence. Eight-hour days are much longer than they seem, so try to make the most of it.
6. Go out to lunch
You are given a lunch break every day. Why not go out with other employees and learn more about them? I currently have plans to have lunch with my fellow interns, as well as directors and executives. My company is giving us the opportunity to meet with them in a more casual setting. I would highly recommend finding out if you can meet with other employees over lunch. It’s an easy and relaxed way to discover more about possible careers or the company you are working for.
The most important advice I can give is to pay attention to everything they teach you. I can guarantee that you won’t know everything before you work there. I also know that there will be topics that aren’t and won’t be covered in your classes, but companies want you to know them before you are hired fulltime. Think about it. You don’t have to pay tuition to learn, and it's from people who will teach it to you at a reasonable pace. Do not take it for granted.